The Titans are right in the thick of the AFC playoff race as the calendar flips to December.
Tennessee (6-6) is enjoying its bye week this weekend, but that doesn’t mean the Titans can’t make a jump in the playoff standings despite not playing a game. Seven teams that impact the Titans are in action in Week 13. Six of those teams are on the road. And, four of the seven teams are road underdogs. So, the Titans have a great chance at moving up by doing nothing. Sounds pretty good.
Let’s breakdown what the Titans need to happen this week within the division, with upcoming opponents and other teams in the playoff hunt.
The AFC South leading Houston Texans (6-5) are on the road in Green Bay. While the Packers (5-6) might not seem like a threat on paper, and with how the Titans obliterated them recently, the Texans should go down.
The Packers had bounce back win in Philadelphia against the Eagles last week, 27-13 and looked good in doing so. Green Bay is a BIG 6.5 point favorite this weekend. Houston QB Brock Osweiler has struggled all season long and tossed three interceptions last week vs San Diego.
A Green Bay win would leave Tennessee and Houston at both 6-6 with four games left. The Texans currently hold the tie-breaker over the Titans, so this would be a prime game for the Texans to drop for the division race.
The Colts (5-6) are showcased on Monday Night Football on the road against the Jets (3-8). On the surface it seems like this should be an easy win for Indy. The Jets offense is ugly. Their defense hasn’t be able to dominate like most thought it would. However, ESPN’s matchup predictor gives the Jets a 61-percent chance to win the game. Vegas thinks otherwise listing the Colts as a two point favorite.
The Colts swept the Titans (again) in the regular season and could sneak up and steal the division if the Titans and Texans both stumble. The Colts’ last four games are the Texans, at Vikings, at Raiders and the Jaguars. This would be a nice loss to add cushion between Tennessee and Indy.
Titans’ future opponents
This is where the Titans can make up a ton of ground for a potential Wildcard Playoff push. Tennessee would likely, have win out to win the division. Having a wildcard back up plan is a good idea.
Next week’s opponent, the Denver Broncos (7-4) are on the road in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, the Jaguars (2-9) seem to pose zero threat of pulling an upset. Vegas has the Broncos as a 3.5-point favorite. But, it’s the NFL. “Any given Sunday” as they say. Titans fans need the Jags to do them a “solid” and upset the Broncos.
The Chiefs (8-3) currently hold the top AFC Wildcard spot with the Raiders (9-2) leading the AFC West. This week Kansas City travels to Atlanta to play a dangerous Falcons team. The Falcons (7-4) are leading the NFC South, but can’t let off the gas with the hot Buccaneers just one game back. The Chiefs are currently 4.5-point underdogs.
The Chiefs losing in Atlanta will be a game to remember if the Titans somehow get into the wildcard race.
In the Playoff Hunt
These three AFC teams are fighting to stay alive. The Steelers (6-5) are the only team here who can still win the division. They’re also the only team in this post playing at home this week. Surprisingly, Pittsburgh is a whopping 6.5-point favorite over the New York Giants (8-3). Big Ben Roethlisberger is back and healthy. The Steelers have won two straight and Titans fans are hoping it doesn’t get to three.
Somehow, the Miami Dolphins (7-4) are relevant. The Titans laid a beatdown on the Dolphins in early October, and since then Miami has won six straight. Ryan Tannehill, Jay Ajayi and head coach Brian Gase have gone from hot seat to playoff contender. They play the Ravens (6-5) in Baltimore, where Joe Flacco and company are 4-2 this season. The Ravens, 3.5-point favorites, need to compile wins to hold off the Steelers in the AFC North race.
The Bills (6-5) are trying to hang around. They travel to Oakland to play the Raiders (9-2) who are listed as three-point favorites. I don’t see Oakland and Derek Carr dropping this game. The Chiefs and Broncos are applying pressure in the division and the Raiders can’t afford a bad home-loss to Rex Ryan.